Through Melissa Rohlin
FOX Sports NBA Writer
Draymond Green was also appalled by the video. He watched as he lunged at Jordan Poole during Wednesday’s Golden State Warriors practice, beating a man who was nine years his junior and 36 pounds lighter.
He saw how bad it saw. How terrible he saw. At that moment he got lost in his feelings. But after that TMZ received video of the incident, he watched his actions in the harsh light of reality, undistorted by his anger. It was horrific, as was it for the millions of other people who saw it.
“I failed as a leader,” Green said. “I failed as a man.”
Green has viewed the video at least 15 times. He was concerned that Poole’s family needed to see this. He imagined how his mother would feel about it him be beaten. His wife is now being told it is only a matter of time before she is affected by Green’s violence. He apologized to Poole’s family and his own family.
Green spoke at the Chase Center for nearly 40 minutes Saturday, addressing the incident for the first time. He was raw, open, vulnerable and full of regrets. He said he’ll be away from the warriors for a few days to let everyone heal.
“I’m a very flawed person,” Green said.
[The Warriors are once again grappling with the duality of Draymond]
Green didn’t apologize. He said he was in “very, very bad shape” on Wednesday due to issues in his personal life. He said he had to learn to control himself. How to tell when he’s on a hairpin trigger. How to prevent him from doing something like this again.
When asked what made him do it, he refused to tell his side of the story. He said it was a “sympathy tactic”.
“I’m not looking for sympathy,” Green said. “…If anyone deserves some sympathy, it’s Jordan, it’s this team.”
He intends to use his time away from the team to reflect. He knows his actions destroyed the trust between him and Poole, someone he allegedly took under his wing, when the Warriors picked Poole as the 28th overall pick in the 2019 draft.
“Hurt people hurt people,” Green said. “I was in a very contentious room this morning dealing with some things that are very close and dear to me and I hurt someone because I was in a place of hurt. I apologized for that. And you apologize with words, but ultimately your actions show your apology.”
Green said he’s always struggled to control his emotions.
He said he internalizes things. He feels better that way. He feels safer when people don’t know what he’s feeling. But things inevitably bubble and explode. He knows he needs to make changes.
“One thing I’m missing is how to let my emotions out,” said Green, who was raised below the poverty line by a single mother in Saginaw, Michigan, for much of his childhood. “… Growing up, dealing with the things that I had to deal with, you learn to internalize a lot of things.”
Green said he plans to do some deep thinking. It is unclear how long he will be absent from the team. He said he hopes to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the season opener on Oct. 18, but nothing has been decided yet.
When Green apologized to Poole and the Warriors on Thursday, he said he “didn’t get much” from Poole, nor did he expect to. He wants to give him time to process his feelings. Green imagined how uncomfortable it would be if the Warriors received their championship rings along with his family and Poole’s family.
“There’s this dark cloud in space,” Green said. “And I caused that.”
As Green returns to the team, he hopes to regain everyone’s trust. He made it clear his falling out with Poole had nothing to do with them both seeking contract extensions, dismissing it as “hatred of another man’s situation,” which “is something you just don’t do.”
When asked how he felt about Poole, Green said there was nothing but love — on his side, at least. He pointed out that their lockers have been side by side since day 1 for a reason.
“I’m the guy who supported Jordan when he got sent to the G League and nobody thought he had a chance,” Green said. “I’m the guy who yells at him, ‘Hey man, you should do that,’ or ‘Good game.'”
Green said he still has no idea how Poole feels about the situation. He knows it’s up to Poole to decide whether to forgive him. Anyhow, he said he will still try to help Poole whenever he can.
Asked Saturday if the team’s trust in Green was at risk, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “No comment.” When asked how Green’s apology was received, he said, “Nobody’s business but us .”
Kerr was circumcised. But he made one thing clear: he was deeply upset that video of Green’s punch had been leaked. (Sources told FOX Sports Friday the team is investigating how the video came out.) Now the entire team is being dragged through the mud.
Draymond’s Punch video surfaced via TMZ
Chris Broussard, Nick Wright and Kevin Wildes react to the shocking footage.
Kerr said the Warriors have a problem with leaks, pointing out that Andrew Wiggins’ resistance to the COVID vaccine last season also came out. Kerr added that in his 32 years in the league he has witnessed more than 20 fistfights at practice and never before has video been released to the public.
“It’s like if you had a camera in your family and there was a family argument, would you really want to take that out with the world?” Kerr asked. “No, of course not. They want to settle it internally.”
As for the Warriors, neither Kerr nor Green think it will hurt their chances of a title shot this season. The core of the team, made up of Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, has endured much drama, many injuries and many setbacks – but he persevered to become this generation’s dynasty, winning the NBA Finals six of the last eight years reached and won four championships.
“It doesn’t affect the win,” Green said. “Winners win. Winners find a way. And we will win.”
But Green knows it’s up to him to make sure the warriors can overcome this. He needs to figure out how to reintegrate himself into the team. He has to prove himself to everyone around him.
He tries to take responsibility. He said he chose not to address the situation on his podcast so he wouldn’t be hiding behind a computer screen. He wanted to face reporters, answer their questions, and take responsibility for his actions.
Green knows it’s going to be a bumpy road back, but he intends to do everything in his power to turn things around.
“It’s something I sincerely regret,” he said.
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Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She has previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.
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